Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle!
Whether (and how much!) to invest in an air fryer is ultimately a lifestyle decision. It depends on how you live, how you like to cook and what you want out of your new appliance.
Firstly, if you are a gadget fan who loves playing with the latest kitchen toy, you’ll have plenty of fun experimenting.
As soon as I saw my first air fryer, my mind raced back to my days in a share house as a student. I would have killed for such an efficient item in that tiny, ill-equipped kitchen. An air fryer can be a godsend to anyone living alone or in a small household, especially if their kitchen has limited space and few mod-cons.
Purchasing a multi-function machine that includes both a baking and roasting function is a smart consideration. You can prepare most meals with just this one piece of equipment – making it both practical and economical. You can read our recommendations in these posts.
An air fryer could be a great addition to a campervan or any accommodation that lacks an oven. The practical portability of an air fryer is an underappreciated virtue. Move it and use it.
Anyone who is a fan of frozen and fried convenience foods should put one of these appliances on their wish list. If you don’t have the time, inclination or ability to regularly cook fresh produce, then seriously consider an air fryer. Your waistline and cholesterol levels will thank you.
Air fryers also have the advantage of not adding heat to a kitchen. In a sweltering Australian summer this can be a substantial advantage over oven-cooking or pan frying.
And they particularly suit home cooks who wish to prepare food in relatively small batches.
However, if you cook for a large household please note that not all air fryers possess the capability to feed everyone in one batch. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – check the capacity of every model under consideration.
If you love fried food and like new gadgets, then air fryers are a worthwhile investment even in an already well-optioned kitchen. But if not, be careful not to spend money on an appliance that will be rarely touched. A standard oven, cooktop and grill kitchen set-up is more than adequate for most situations.
Although these machines have been created to produce ‘fried’ food, they aren’t generally fabulous at cooking battered foods. For a deep-fried Mars bar you really need an old-fashioned deep-fat fryer. Or so I’m told… 😉 However, if you want to have a go at making a ‘healthier’, air fried, version of this modern dessert classic, you can read more here.
And remember that this is quite a bulky item. Consider whether you have the space to store it and what will be the amount of usable space that you’ll lose in your kitchen to it? Will the lost room be worth the amount of use you get out of your new appliance?
It’s important to note that the cooking time in an air fryer is more or less the same as that of a standard oven. Don’t expect air frying to be substantially faster. Saving time is not a reason for purchasing this kitchen appliance.
And you can only cook one kind of food at a time, so if you are making chips in your air fryer, you will have to cook your steak in something else.
And as an important last environmental point – it’s worth mentioning that air fryers are not particularly energy efficient.
A Multi-Function Kitchen Appliance – Not Just For Frying
If you are still unsure whether you really need one of these in your life, this may sway you – you can do a lot more than simply fry things in these machines.
In fact, many current models of air fryer offer the same functions as a complete range of regular kitchen appliances. Add a few basic accessories and you can not only fry, but also grill, roast and bake in your machine.
Many air fryers have custom accessories to fit the size and shape of each particular model. Common extras include non-stick cake pans, silicone muffin cups, pizza pans, skewer racks and even oven gloves to remove freshly baked items from without burning oneself.
Convection oven style air fryers often have a rotisserie function, enabling the spit roasting of a whole chicken, amongst other things. Many also make great food dehydrators, so you can dry fruit and veg for snacks.
Their sheer versatility can help to explain the recent rise in popularity of air fryers.
Splurging hard-earned dollars on a gadget that will be primarily used to make hot chips doesn’t look so extravagant when you realise it can also produce chicken curry, margherita pizza and cheesecake – though not all at once!
If you have limited kitchen space, don’t have a large family to cater for, or simply intend to spend as little as possible on your appliances, a multi-function air fryer could well be the answer.
Be sure to check what, if any, recipe recommendations come with your preferred air fryer. Some models include recipe booklets to get you started, whilst others (eg Philips) provide apps to be downloaded, complete with handy cooking tips and easy to follow recipes.
Clearly, a cooking guide (whether book or a digital download) is helpful when getting to grips with new technology. A quick browse will illustrate exactly what each air fryer is capable of, and this is important info in deciding what air fryer to purchase. Or you can simply read our reviews and take it from there 😉
Having said all that, it’s important to remember that air fryers are often best for small batch cooking and that to make a complete meal, you may need to cook the elements separately. Read our posts on air fryer accessories for hints on how you can maximise the cooking capabilities of your air fryer to get more done and more cooked.